The year 2017 is about to depart from us with a countable few days left. Though it has brought many pleasant and unpleasant events for the world to face, our lips breathe adieu but we cannot think the thing farewell.
We have no alternative but to do it because saying good-bye is as much a part of life as saying hello.
When the year knocked at the door, our heart was filled with new hopes and aspiration that it would be better than the preceding one. It is a human instinct to seek diversity and novelty of sensation in something new and spectacular. So pertinently, some memorable lines of a famous English poet crop up in my mind:
“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter,
With some pain is fraught.”It is a matter of deep regret that things did not happen as per our heart’s desire. In other words, we can say that it is always unexpected that always happens. To begin with let me talk about the year in context with our country, Bangladesh that achieved tremendous development in different sectors like trade and commerce, agriculture, industry, education, information and communication technology. Foreign exchange earnings, remittance and per head income of the people had also increased to a large extent. The internal peace and progress of the country was quite satisfactory for domestic and foreign investment. The opposition parties have shown much restraint and there were no major issues for political unrest. The election of the city corporation of Rangpur was held democratically without any intervention from any quarter. The government was thoroughly successful in combating militancy as the law and order situation was under its full control. Moreover, it was very sincere in maintaining communal harmony for which the people of other faiths performed their religious festivals very peacefully.
It is in this year Bangladesh had to stand the test of time i.e. to bear the brunt of more than 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees who were forcibly pushed into this country by the Myanmar Army terming them illegal migrants from Bangladesh. It is one of the greatest humanitarian crises, which has been described by the UN as a Text Book of ethnic cleansing. Moved with pity at their untold misery and suffering our PM gave them shelter in Bangladesh which as a result, has the largest refugee camp in the world.
This kindness and sympathy of the PM has enhanced the status and image of Bangladesh throughout the world. Notably in this respect her historic speech in the UNGA with five point proposal for the solution of the crisis is a landmark event in her glorious political career. No government of Bangladesh in the past, not even the British in India demonstrated so much diplomatic skill like her in handling a serious crisis. With proud thanksgiving we acknowledge the impact of her right diplomacy for which huge pressure is being mounted on Myanmar to repatriate the large exodus of refugees from Myanmar.
In the international arena two major events took place in this year: One is the ascendency of Donald Trump as the US president and the other is the joining of Antonio Guterres as the Secretary General of the United Nations. He has been making concerted efforts in dealing with volatile issues since he took over the charge. On the other hand, Trump’s flip-flop with the climate change, Obama Care, and his ban on Muslim immigrations into US, mainly his sudden recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel not only debased the American politics but also drew worldwide provocation and condemnation. It has jeopardized the peace process and the entire Middle East became unstable. Though the deep crisis in Lebanon has come to an end under the French initiative and the UN succeeded in imposing economic sanctions on North Korea which may deter it from continental ballistic missile test, it is shocking to note that the Gulf crisis, the war in Yemen, conflict in some African countries including Sudan, Central Africa, Congo, Somalia, etc. have not been solved in this year. As a result, they may take a dangerous turn in the next year particularly the Shia and the Sunni conflict in Yemen may trigger and draw the two archrivals of this region into a bloody war. On the sideline of this, we see that terror attacks have become regular occurrence in Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Islamic militants. Furthermore, the problem of the refugees and the displaced people will continue to remain a legacy for the next year. Another achievement of this year is the change of regime in Zimbabwe after the fall of Robert Mugabe that signals the victory of democratic forces against decades of tyranny.
The global image, popularity and brilliant success of President Vladimir Putin and PM Sheikh Hasina as able and dynamic leaders of the world show positive signs of their return to power in the coming year that would indeed, be very good for these countries for continuous implementation of long term policy as well as political stability.
In the end our experience of this year along with its overall achievement and failure has been evaluated in the perspective of the past as well as the approaching year. It is fading so fast out of our sight with the old order of things and values paving the way for the advent of the New Year which has been eloquently expressed by the Victorian poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson:
“The old order changeth yielding place to new,
And God fulfills himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”
Notwithstanding the fact we are not fully sure what we have in store for us in the new-year. As human beings we are optimistic that something good will befall to us as “every winter changes to spring”. A reminiscence of the past days may awaken a sense of grief in our minds but it will be surely compensated by our great expectation of making an adaptive change with the emergence of the New Year. So adieu 2017 and long live Bangladesh.
The writer is Vice Chancellor (In-charge), Britannia University Comilla. Email: email@example.com